Move over, Frozen, there’s a new Disney babe in town and her name’s MOANA.
Disney has been crushing it in 2016 with the release of instant classics like Zootropolis, The Jungle Book and Finding Dory, all vying for spots in our favourite family films of all time. I’m abnormally excited about the live action Beauty & the Beast (slated for March 2017).
If your little girl (or boy) is hankering for another strong female heroine that ain’t your typical princess, then go see Moana, opening this Friday at cinemas across the UK.
Moana is a staggeringly beautiful film using CGI animation and lush painterly colours to evoke a South Pacific setting. Everything hums with life, from the shimmying coconut trees to the rollicking sea that plays a guest starring role in the film.
This is the fable of Moana, a chieftain’s daughter who’s being prepared to rule her tribe, but feels a yearning to explore beyond the shallow waters surrounding her island. Her papa warns her about straying too far, but Moana is made for a more adventurous life.
Besides, things aren’t exactly hunky dory at home… what with all the crop withering and rapid climate change threatening their living space.
Moana’s sassy grandma urges her to listen to the voice inside, and go out to seek Maui (a demi god) who will help recapture what was stolen from the goddess Te Fiti — hint: it’s the reason everything is out of whack in the first place. I won’t give away any more of the plot, except to say that it involves lots of music and magic, a volcano-hot baddie, a blinged-out crab, and a hilariously dumb but loveable chicken. Plus Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock flexing muscles upon muscles in the form of beefcake Maui (even his tattoos are ripped).
Newcomer Auli’i Cravalho makes a spirited debut as the voice of Moana and Broadway hotshot Lin Manuel Miranda (creator of multiple award winning show Hamilton) adds his golden touch to the soundtrack, giving us catchy tune after stirring showstopper.
Moana is a wonderful movie with a twist at the end that has stuck with me, and I’m sure made an impression even on the youngest kids. Also I loved taking my Naija boys to see a Disney film crammed with characters that have brown skin, broad noses and a rich ancestral heritage. Sure, it’s still a Disneyfied version of a much deeper culture than what’s portrayed on screen, but hey… baby steps.
Moana (Babes Review)
(by Ezra, age 10 and Jed, age 7)
In a Nutshell: ‘It’s the story of Moana, a girl who’s become the chief of her tribe and whose grandmother’s tales make her want to go down to the sea. One day her grandma shows her that her people were once voyagers. She goes to find Maui to persuade him to help restore the heart of Te Fiti.’ (Ezra). ‘Moana’s grandma tells her that the sea chose her to go beyond the reef to help her people. She had to help them because all the coconuts didn’t have milk and there weren’t any fish to catch.’ (Jed)
Memorable moment: ‘When she finds Maui.’ (Ezra). ‘When Maui comes back to fight the lava monster.’ (Jed).
Rating: ‘4 and a half to 5 stars’ (Ezra). ‘5 stars!’ (Jed)
Age Guidance: ‘At least 3, children under 3 it depends on how tough they are because there are a few scary scenes.’ (Ezra). ‘4+’ (Jed)
Message: ‘Do what you have to do to save your tribe.’ (Jed). ‘You can still pull through even when you’re under pressure.’ (Ezra)
Disney’s Moana is on general release from Fri Dec 2